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Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - September, 2003

Congressional Affairs

FY 2004 Appropriations

On July 10, 2003, the House of Representatives passed the FY 2004 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations (L/HHS) bill (HR 2660). The vote was 215-208. For the National Institutes of Health, the bill would provide the President's budget request, $27.7 billion, which would be a $681 million increase over FY 2003. The Senate recessed for its August break without considering the bill, but agreed by unanimous consent that HR 2660 would be the first item on its agenda when it resumes business on Tuesday, September 2, 2003. The floor manager is Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). The Senate bill (S 1356), had $445 million less to allocate than the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.

Senate Committee Report (108-81) Language for NIDA:

Appropriations, 2003 $961,721,000
Budget estimate, 2004 995,614,000
Committee recommendation 997,614,000

The Committee recommends an appropriation of $997,614,000 for the National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], the same as budget request. The fiscal year 2003 appropriation was $961,721,000. The comparable numbers for the budget estimate include funds to be transferred from the Office of AIDS Research.

Mission - Created in 1974, NIDA supports about 85 percent of the world's biomedical research in the area of drug abuse and addiction. The Committee commends NIDA for demonstrating through research that drug use is a preventable behavior and that addiction is a treatable disease. NIDA's basic research plays a fundamental role in furthering knowledge about the ways in which drugs act on the brain to produce dependence, and contributes to understanding how the brain works. In addition, NIDA research identifies the most effective pharmacological and behavioral drug abuse treatments. NIDA conducts research on the nature and extent of drug abuse in the United States and monitors drug abuse trends nationwide to provide information for planning both prevention and treatment services. An important component of NIDA's mission is also to study the outcomes, effectiveness, and cost benefits of drug abuse services delivered in a variety of settings and to assure dissemination of information with respect to prevention of drug abuse and treatment of drug abusers.

Adolescent Decision Making and Drug Abuse - The Committee recognizes that the scientific understanding gained by the support of behavioral and cognitive research will lead to improved treatment and prevention of drug abuse and addiction. The Committee encourages NIDA to support more research on adolescent decision making, including the cognitive, behavioral and social processes involved in initiating and continuing drug use.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders - The Committee notes that there is a lack of relevant research and culturally competent service programs to address the increased incidence of substance use and abuse among Asian American and Pacific Islander youth and adults. The Committee urges the Director of NIH and the Administrator of SAMHSA to increase their collaborative efforts to address the critical need for substance abuse research regarding these populations.

Drug Abuse and HIV Interventions - Women, youth, and minorities account for a growing proportion of new AIDS cases in the United States, and increasing numbers of cases are emerging in rural and smaller urban areas. Therefore, the Committee encourages NIDA to support research to develop and test developmentally and contextually appropriate drug abuse-related HIV prevention interventions or intervention components to reach the broad youth population.

Homeless Populations and Drug Abuse - The Committee recognizes that homeless adults and youth have disproportionate rates of drug use disorders. The Committee encourages NIDA to accelerate more research on homeless populations, especially those that suffer from alcohol, drug abuse and/or mental disorders, and their ability to access services and treatment.

Information Dissemination - The Committee urges NIDA to use both the existing National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network infrastructure and the new prevention infrastructures that are currently being established as part of NIDA's new Prevention Research Initiative, to ensure that findings are put into practice in communities across the country. The Committee is pleased that NIDA and SAMHSA/CSAP are already having discussions to make this a reality.

Methamphetamine Abuse - The Committee continues to be concerned with the rate of methamphetamine abuse across the Nation. The problem is especially acute in Iowa and other Midwestern States. The Committee again urges NIDA to expand its research on improved methods of prevention and treatment of methamphetamine abuse.

New Targets for Medications Development - The Committee is pleased that NIDA research continues to lead to new discoveries about the brain. Recent advances have revealed new targets for medications development. The Committee urges NIDA to continue to support this important research to unravel the complexity of the brain and identify new systems, molecules, proteins, and genes that can be useful in developing new and better medications to treat drug abuse and addiction.

Prevention Research - The Committee is pleased that NIDA has launched a multi-component National Prevention Research Initiative that will involve partners at the State and local levels. The committee urges NIDA to expand this initiative to test the effectiveness of new and existing science-based prevention approaches in different communities, while also identifying the core components of effective drug abuse prevention, so that they can be easily adapted to meet local needs.

Relapse - The Committee encourages NIDA to continue its support of behavioral research that can further our understanding about the underlying cognitive, emotional, and behavioral factors that lead to drug abuse relapses.

Stress - The Committee encourages NIDA to continue to explore the effects of stress and its relationship on the initiation of drug use and the role that stress plays in triggering relapse to drug use. Such research may lead to development of more effective prevention and treatment, particularly for those who suffer from mental disorders as well as substance abuse.

Tobacco Addiction - The Committee recognizes the central role that NIDA research has played in paving the way for developing effective treatments for addiction to nicotine. The Committee is pleased with NIDA's participation with other NIH Institutes in activities to more rapidly translate tobacco addiction research into new treatments. The Committee urges NIDA to accelerate its efforts in these areas, particularly research that focuses on prevention of adolescents from starting to smoke.

Translational Research - The Committee applauds NIDA's efforts to support behavioral science research that provides insight into drug abuse and addiction, especially in the field of tobacco and nicotine addiction. Behavioral and cognitive studies are needed to examine the forerunners and consequences of nicotine use and the nature of the nicotine addiction process, including both genetic and environmental risk factors for nicotine abuse. The Committee encourages NIDA to continue its innovative approaches to move basic behavioral science into clinical application.

Treatments for Adolescent Drug Abusers - The Committee continues to see adolescent drug abuse as a major public health concern and recognizes the need for developing more treatments that are tailored to the unique needs of adolescent drug abusers.

House Committee Report (108-188) Language for NIDA:

The Committee provides $995,614,000 for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is $33,893,000 above the fiscal year 2003 comparable level and the same as the budget request.

Mission.--NIDA-supported science addresses questions about drug abuse and addiction, which range from its causes and consequences to its prevention and treatment. NIDA research explores how drugs of abuse affect the brain and behavior and develops effective prevention and treatment strategies; the Institute works to ensure the transfer of scientific data to policy makers, practitioners, and the public.

Bills of Interest

[For the full text and additional information about any bill, go to the Library of Congress website at]

HR 2086 - On May 14, 2003, Mark Souder, R-Ind, introduced HR 2086, a bill that would reauthorize the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and related programs through fiscal 2008. House floor action is expected following the August 2003 recess.

Selected provisions:

  • HR 2086 would clarify that the ONDCP Director has the authority to prohibit the certification of any budget request that failed to meet certain conditions.
  • The bill would require agencies that deal with drug control, including NIDA, to submit reprogramming or transfer requests for $1 million or more to the ONDCP Director for review. This amount is down from the $5 million under current law.
  • The legislation would authorize $195 million annually for fiscal 2004 and 2005 and $210 million annually for fiscal 2006 through 2008 to carry out a National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.
  • The Partnership for a Drug Free America would serve as the primary outside strategic adviser to the campaign.
  • The bill would require the ONDCP Director to designate an independent entity to evaluate the campaign's effectiveness using specified criteria.
  • The measure would require the ONDCP Director to submit an annual report to Congress evaluating the strategy and success of the media campaign in the previous year.

HR 1863 - On April 29, 2003, Rep. Michael Rogers (R-MI) introduced HR1863, the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2003. The bill would declare adequate pain care research, education, and treatment as national public health priorities. It was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill would, in part, establish in the NIH a National Center for Pain and Palliative Care Research. The Center would be headed by a Director appointed by the Director of NIH. The Center would have an advisory council known as "The National Pain and Palliative Care Research Center Advisory Board. Membership of this Board would include voting and non-voting members. The Director, NIDA, would be among the non-voting members.

HR 2507 -- On June 18, 2003, Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR) introduced HR 2507, the Conquering Pain Act of 2003. While the majority of the legislation would address services and insurance coverage, there is a provision that would require NIH to convene a national conference to discuss the translation of pain research into the delivery of health services, including mental health services, to chronic pain patients and those in need of end of life care. The Secretary DHHS would be required to use unobligated amounts appropriated for DHHS to convene the conference. On April 29, 2003, Rep. Rogers (R-MI) introduced HR 1863, the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2003. The only similarity between the two is that there is a requirement for a conference on pain in both bills.

HR 2989 -- On July 30, 2003, Rep. Istook, (R-OK) introduced the Transportation-Treasury-Independent Agencies Appropriations for FY 2004. The bill provides a total of $89.3 billion, $2.7 billion (3%) more than the FY 2003 level and $3.4 billion (4%) more than proposed by the administration. This is the first time the House has considered a bill funding both the Transportation and Treasury departments. When the House and Senate Appropriations committees reorganized to create a new subcommittee for homeland security, the subcommittees on Transportation and Treasury-Postal Service were combined into one in order to keep the total number of subcommittees at 13.

Drug-Related Programs & Activities
The bill appropriates $29 million for salaries and expenses for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and $40 million for the office's Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center. The amount provided for the office is 10% more than current funding, while the center's appropriation is 16% less than FY 2003. The measure provides $226 million for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program, through which assistance is provided to federal, state and local law enforcement units operating in those areas most adversely affected by drug trafficking that have been designated as HIDTAs. The amount provided is 1% more than current funding and $20 million (10%) more than requested. The increase above the administration's request would permit the continued funding of all existing HIDTA programs at their FY 2003 funding level, as well as the expansion of some of those areas and funding of several new areas. The bill also appropriates $230 million - 4% more than current funding but $20 million (8%) less than requested - for other federal drug control programs, which were previously known as the "Special Forfeiture Fund". The total includes $150 million for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign and $70 million for the Drug Free Communities Support Program.

Federal Employees
The measure also provides for a 4.1% pay raise for civilian federal employees - equal to the pay raise for the military - and it continues for FY 2004 language from previous appropriations acts that ban federal employee health plans from paying for abortions, require those health plans to provide coverage for contraceptives, and prohibit implementation of a regulation allowing banks to enter the real estate business. The bill also requires all federal agencies to submit to Congress at the end of each calendar year an annual report that details actions taken by the agency to contract out agency tasks to the private sector.

S 189 -- On June 19, 2003, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation reported S.189, the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, to create in statute a National Nanotechnology Program. As reported the bill would direct the President to establish a National Nanotechnology Program and a National Coordination Office to 1) establish goals and priorities for evaluating Federal nanotechnology research and development 2) authorize NSF, as the lead agency, along with the Dept. of Energy, NASA, NIH, NIST, EPA DoJ, DHS, and the Dept of Agriculture to develop and support research and development programs in nanotechnology and related sciences; and 3) provide for coordination of Federal nanotechnology activities. In particular NIH would be authorized $70 million for FY 2004 and increasing amounts through FY 2008. A similar but not identical bill HR 766, the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003, passed the House on May 7, 2003. The NIH was not mentioned in that bill.

S 1278 - On June 18, 2003, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S 1278, the Conquering Pain Act of 2003. The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for a public response to the public health crisis of pain. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

Meetings and Briefings

NIDA Director, Dr. Nora Volkow, had courtesy visits with several Members of Congress. On July 8, 2003, she met with Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX). On July 9, 2003, she met with Congressman David Wu (D-OR), and on July 24, 2003, she met with Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI). Dr. Timothy Condon, Associate Director, NIDA, accompanied Dr. Volkow for her meeting with Rep. Kennedy.

Dr. Eric Moolchan, Clinical Investigator and Director, Teen Tobacco Addiction Research Clinic, NIDA IRP, participated with Dr. Jack Henningfield, Johns Hopkins Medical School, in briefing Senate staff on tobacco addiction and treatment on Thursday, July 30, 2003. The briefing was arranged by staff from the Senate HELP Committee.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

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Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

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